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Walking through the Community

BY NAW MOL MOL | 22 NOVEMBER 2017

I am so excited to be working with this organisation (Global Alms Incorporated) because I have never worked with foreigners before. On the first day I started to work here, I thought to myself, “I am a person who is so lucky to work here". 

For example, GAI officers have a schedule for each week. My working time is 9am to 5pm, so in my schedule, during this time, what I have to do and where I have to be is already written down in my schedule. Every week, all of the GAI officers have a meeting, and we have to update each other on what we did during this week. Throughout my past job experiences, I have never seen this type of scheduling that GAI follows. Therefore, I feel like I am working with international professionals.

Since I started, I have gained more knowledge and experiences. I am the Community Development Officer. Part of my role is to conduct community visits twice a week. When I first arrived in the community members’ houses, they were so happy to welcome me and my colleagues. When I work in this aspect of our job, I learn more about how to encourage, listen, and talk with the community. The GAI team teaches me life skills, child’s rights, child behavior, child’s needs, child abuse, and self-defence.

I would like to tell you some true stories from our experiences .... 

There is one woman who has a son and was also pregnant with another child. Our team visit her regularly. Her older son has a disability, and her current partner ran away from them when she became pregnant with his child. She has been alone with her son and during the second pregnancy. She cannot work because she has to take care of her son who is dependent on her. He cannot do anything by himself. 

Last month, she had an appointment at Mae Tao Clinic to deliver her new child. She had to sleep in the clinic for about 8 days, waiting to deliver, but she also had to take her son with her to the clinic. She was in so much pain while she stayed in the clinic for the 8 days, and she also still had to take care of her son, so our team went to visit her, and donated some items that she needed. We were also able to make sure that she was connected with other organisations that could provide her with the support services that we don’t necessarily offer. 

This woman cannot work to get food, but she has one organisation supporting her with food. I think that it’s not only food that can help her to become stronger, but also having someone to encourage her, to listen, and talk with her. It is the most important thing to her because she did not know how she could open up to talk with someone, or find someone who would listen to her. When we visit her, she shares about everything that she is feeling, and we listen, talk with, and encourage her.

Another story is about a Karen family that we visited last week. Their family has four siblings. They arrived in Mae Sot with their parents when they were very young. They have now been living in Mae Sot for about 37 years, but each sibling now has a family of their own. They do not have any documentation. All four siblings have children amounting to about 20 people, but none of them have ever been able to attend school. 

When we visited them, we asked them why the children did not go to school. They said it was because they couldn’t pay for the school fees, uniforms, and transportation fees. For example, the children’s parents do not have daily, guaranteed jobs. Because of this, they cannot pay for the school fees and costs, but the children also want to study. 

One of the siblings that we visited, she is a person who needs encouragement too because she does not have any friends and she does not have any documents; so she cannot go outside very often because she is afraid of the police. They had never met a person who would regularly go to visit them. Especially because their house is in the middle of a muddy plantation. 

Our team is the only group who goes to visit her. When we visited her for the first time, she was so happy to talk with us. She said she got more strength and energy when we visited her, listened, talked, and encouraged her. Therefore, our visits to the community are important for me and the GAI Staff.

*All names of community members are kept confidential to protect their identity. 

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